Saint Louis University Resorts to Fake Owls to Battle a Very Real Crow Problem


Life is imitating art at SLU.
  • Life is imitating art at SLU.
Saint Louis University is inundated with hundreds -- possibly thousands -- of crows. The ravens are coating the campus with bird crap and proving to be a real menace for maintenance workers assigned to clean up the mess.

"The cars in the back of the [Marchetti parking] lot are loaded with bird feces," maintenance worker Terry Palmisano recently told the student paper The University News. "I have been here 31 years and I have never seen so many [crows]. At night there are hundreds, and it is freaky when they are flying all over the place."

Meanwhile, a biologist at the university says that urban areas -- with their slightly warmer temperatures and abundant food -- make ideal roosting areas for the birds.

"Nothing is unusual about it, this is a neat phenomena," Thomas Valone tells the U News. "The West Nile Virus hit the crows hard and their roosts declined in the last three to four years. Ten years ago, there were thousands of crows around campus and it appears that their population has recovered."

In an effort to scare off the birds, SLU maintenance workers say they will soon install two life-sized Great Horned Owl decoys with four-foot wing spans. And if that doesn't do the trick, the university could use noise or even poison to scare and/or kill the creatures.

'Cause, you know, you'd hate for this to happen to the schoolchildren...

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